The companionway hatch is starting to look pretty rough. Plugs missing, screw heads popping through, joint caulk peeling and flaking, and teak slats starting to come unglued. Worst of all, the eyebrow drip rail is half missing.
The hatch has a rubber strip attached on the inside of the forward edge to keep water from entering the boat. As the hatch is slid forward, the rubber strip sweeps the water off the roof sort of like a big squeegee. And that’s exactly what I used to replace the old rotten one. The hatch turtle (or sea hood) was removed from the cabin top, the back edge of the hatch removed, and a new rubber strip repurposed from a floor squeegee was screwed on. Finally, everything was put back together with screws and epoxy. You can’t see the new strip, but it’s there, and it’s an important part of keeping the boat dry in heavy seas.
Nearly every screw in the hatch needed a new teak bung (plug) installed to cover them. Existing plugs were just a hair under 3/8″, which is standard fare at the local marine supply super center. I had to pull all the screws and counterbore them all with a 3/8″ Forstner bit so the new plugs would fit, and then countersink the tapered screw holes before reinstalling screws. Each plug got a smear of epoxy before getting tapped into place with a hammer.
The caulking between planks was shot and I used a reefing hook from Teakdecking Systems to peel out all the old stuff before sanding the entire surface smooth.
Grooves were edge sanded to remove any last little cling-ons and the whole thing got masked off and caulked with SIS 440 (also from teakdecking.com). The caulking was smeared into the joints with a putty knife and the tape was then quickly and carefully removed. After a couple days of cure, the entire hatch got one more sanding to remove any excess caulk.
In the above photo you can see how bad of shape the eyebrow moulding is and it needed to be replaced. The moulding is supposed to keep rain from sheeting down the face of the doors. It has a small groove cut on the underside to break the surface tension of the water causing it to drip off the edge instead of clinging to, and flowing down the surface. It also has a recess on the underside for a hand grab to pull the hatch closed. I salvaged a nice piece of teak from the old sea hood I removed (I’m building a new one out of fiberglass) and went to carving on it. Once the shape was pretty close, it got fastened to the hatch with epoxy and screws.
Right now, we’re experimenting with teak surface coatings. I’m 2-coats into a 5-coat application of Cetol Natural right now (3 coats natural, 2 coats gloss). The jury is still out on whether or not we’re going to use Cetol on the rest of the boat, but over all the hatch doesn’t look too bad. It’s certainly in better shape now than it was.